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The Empress of Salt and Fortune

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  116 reviews
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut
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Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published March 24th 2020 by Tor.com
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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Chaima ✨ شيماء
Full review now posted HERE on my blog

Queerness? Check. Female friendships? Check. Women getting their revenge on their shitty husbands? Saying a Big Fuck You to the patriarchy? Celebrating the stories that slip through the fissures of recorded history? Check, check, and check.
Bradley
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2020-shelf
I'm always on the lookout for writers who are getting people excited, and this one graced my radar several times before I was able to grab her on Netgalley.

This one has some really cool setting descriptions (evocative and colorful), excellent use of object descriptions (telling very understated stories that branch much deeper than first implications), and some very cool points of subtlety in the telling of a much larger story.

In a nutshell, we hear the story of an exiled princess in a
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Clemlucian (🏳️‍🌈the villain's quest)
3/5 stars

Instagram | youtube

arc received through netgalley

The empress of salt and fortune is a short story about an exiled empress and her rise to power and her unconditional love for women.

While the whimsical writing style of this book enhanced the experience, turning the story into a fairy tale, there was little to anything else to this book.

The characters, while complex, were seen from distance, which made any kind of emotional connection impossible. The pacing of the story felt off, as
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Boston
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How am I supposed to write a review when every time I try to explain the way this book made me feel I want to cry out of pride and scream my anger to the wind. This book doesnt make you feel things you can put into words. It makes you feel things that only you can feel and only you can comprehend. And I mean this in the best way possible. ...more
J.A. Ironside
ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was utterly spellbinding. A rich, surprisingly intricate tale that seemed woven of thousands of strands of silk as much as written. Aside from the fact that the style is exquisite, this is an amazingly powerful tale about female friendship, love, loss and the power of women's voices when women band together to remove the restraints of silence placed upon them. There are hints of fantasy here too and the story is set in a historical
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laurel [suspected bibliophile]
A northern barbarian is sent south to marry the emperor. Once she bears a son, she's sent into exile with only her faithful servant at her side. But her story doesn't end there. Her story is just beginning.

Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.


Oh. My. Goodness.

READ THIS NOVELLA. READ IT NOW. IT IS AMAZING.

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it is. It's about the anger of women in a society built to keep them powerless, and how women can get away with literal
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Shealea
Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.

Absolutely blown away. Full review to follow.

* I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Sana
Jul 08, 2019 marked it as anti-library
'...at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.'

'It's also a narrative centered on two fascinating women, the ways in which women are allowed to be angry, and the question of who is ultimately allowed to write the history that lives on.'

SO HERE FOR IT and also that the author and editor are both AsAm, that's the kind of rep to root for

Source
Bob
Its not often I describe a book as beautiful but, dammit, The Empress of Salt and Fortune was as gorgeous in its telling as it was lush in its setting. Its a simple tale in so far a the plot is concerned, but layered and complex in its narrative stylings.

Nghi Vo tells the story through Rabbit, an elderly woman who was once handmaiden to the Empress, as she shares her memories with Chih, a non-binary Cleric, and ALmost Brilliant, their sentient avian companion, prompted by artifacts and mementos
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The Nerd Daily
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Christina Ladd

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo unfolds from the detritus of empire: the gaudy baubles, the cherished mementos, and the trappings of office, whether salt or dice or garments. Empires might be won with weapons, but they are kept with culture. The Empress In-yo knows this when she arrives, a girl in the sealskin finery of her homeland that is ill-suited to the swelter of her new land. And as she sets about exploiting it in
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c, (½ of readsrainbow)
I know what ambition feels like. This feels different. Like a weight around my shoulders, or a stone carried over my heart.


On my blog.

Rep: nonbinary mc, wlw characters, Southeast Asian (Vietnamese?) inspired characters and setting

Galley provided by publisher

Do you ever finish a novella and simultaneously youre satisfied because its managed to tell a complete story but also you want to be living in that world for so much longer? Well, this is one of those.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune takes
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Marija (Inside My Library Mind)
More reviews up on my blog Inside My Library Mind

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

"The Empress of Salt and Fortune belongs to all her subjects, and she was romantic and terrible and glamourous and sometimes all three at once."


This was spectacular! This is a short novella that packs such a punch in its 100 pages. It's a story that celebrates female friendships but also one that mainly focuses on women reclaiming both their agency and their place in history. It's a story that focuses on the
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Louise
The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a really tight, well-written novella that sort of comes at its story side-on, building up the past through a series of short scenes (each based around an object or artifact) that come together to present a united whole.

It's a short story, but one with wonderful lines and a huge emotional payout.

Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.

I loved the way Empress In-yo is presented from a distance. We get to hear Rabbit side of the story, her
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♠ TABI ♠
all I needed to see to slam that TBR button was "visuals of an Asian period drama" okay

the other wonderful things are surprise bonus content
Ana
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this SO MUCH! This is my favorite book of the year so far ( I know thats not funny but like it is let me live). I loved the format this used to tell the story and I was really interested and invested in all the characters even though this only took like two hours to read. The themes were very interesting and subtly displayed and I think it does a good job of presenting ideas and preparing you for conversation. I would highly recommend this if the summary interests you AT ALL give it a ...more
The Artisan Geek
Nov 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
29/11/19
Tor.com is one of my favourite publishers! The work they publish is amazing and damn I'm not going to lie, this 'feminist high fantasy' about 'empire, storytelling, and the anger of women' sound hella good!

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
Acqua
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Empress of Salt and Fortune is the best example of quiet fantasy I know. It's a story about a revolution, about the upheaval of an empire, the way many fantasy stories are - and yet it's unlike everything I've ever read. There isn't one fight scene, it's told decades after the events happened, and it relies so much on details and symbolism, as quiet fantasy does when it needs to talk about something not quiet at all.
It follows Chih (they/them), a cleric - who pretty much functions as a historian
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Nandini | Novels and Nebulas
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this early! I received an e-ARC via Net Galley from Tor.

Reasons to Love
✔ Novella
✔ Imperial Chinese setting
✔ Gorgeous cover
✔ Political marriage trope
✔ Feminist fantasy

Characters
The cast was limited in this one as it was such a short story but all of them were well fleshed out. One of the main characters, a cleric, was non-binary and I loved that representation in a setting like historical Imperial China. The inter-personal relationships were
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Shae McDaniel
The beginning was too abrupt and disorienting for my tastes, but the rest was clever, and the ending was very good.
Delaney 🏳️‍🌈
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Thank you Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the ARC. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo is a rich and diverse story about why you should never underestimate a woman. This is a book about a woman who was used by her husband and then gets revenge in the best way possible. This is a story about the power of motherhood. This is a story about the power of queer people of color. Do yourself a favor and read this book! The writing style is beautiful and the descriptions made me feel like I was right ...more
Bon
Thank you so much, Netgalley, for this advanced copy for review.

This book was just as described in the synopsis, in the best way possible.

It has feminism (in ancient China, no less), a bit of political maneuvering, LGBTQ+ mentions, women circumventing the system to gain power in a world where they usually have none, female imperials actively in power. It certainly read just like an Asian period drama, too descriptions of costumes, relics, speech everything felt so immersive, the setting
...more
Romie
this book proved that stories can be both short and impactful. we get to spend so little time with these characters, and yet we learn so much about them. we learn about their hopes and deepest desires, their fears and dreams. this little fantasy book inspired by Chinese history did more to my heart than some of the longest fantasy books I've read. this is about untold stories, the ones you don't learn about because they're not seen as important enough, the ones that hold the truth. it's about ...more
Jess
Check out this review and more on my blog!

I received an eARC of The Empress of Salt and Fortune from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


This review is going to be brief, because I feel like theres very little I can say about this novella other than that its the kind of story you have to read and experience for yourself. I gobbled it up in one sitting during a train journey, and I already feel like I need to re-read it this novella feels like the kind of story I could read again and
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Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)
beautiful. full RTC closer to release date

( * thank you TorDotCom and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review! * )
Bri (booksnparchment)
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review!

This is a story of a cleric who meets an old woman, on their way to meet the new Empress. The old woman, Rabbit, used to know the previous Empress and tells the cleric about her. This novella is only 112 pages, so I wont spoil you.

This novella is written in beautiful poetic prose. I found myself stopping to reread many of the images evoked in the text. I was so absorbed in the story and vivid descriptions that I forgot it was so
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Mya Alexice
such a great example of whole world snuck into a novella. Nghi Vo's language is lilting and captivating, easy to read and get swept away. I'm really enjoying this tradition of TOR novellas by authors with marginalized identities, and would love to see Vo write a full length novel.
Lauren
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher and author for this opportunity.

This was a very well crafted story, and different to anything I've read before. The format is basically two people having a conversation, one of them is a cleric and the other an old woman, and the old woman, Rabbit, tells a story of an exiled empress who rises to power again.

It's difficult for me to quite wrap my head around how I feel about this book.
...more
Therese | bookish therese
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an ARC!

Solid 3/5 stars

This novella was poetic and lovely and it was very easy to pick out the underlying message of women's stories that were buried in history despite the roles they've played and how easy it is to forget about them. I thought that this story did a wonderful job of showing that and the bravery that comes with wanting your story heard. The latter especially came out around the end where Chih asked Rabbit, more or less, if she knew the
...more
USOM
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Empress of Salt and Fortune is gorgeously written. Celebrating queer stories, Empress of Salt and Fortune is a testament to taking back power - whether that be through uprising or stories. The frame narrative style of Rabbit telling her story to a Cleric is one of my favorite writing styles. It allows us to look at the past, from not only the present, but also from this external
...more
Margaret
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a gorgeous novella reminiscent of The Pillow Book and Ursula K Le Guin's work, especially The Telling. Excellent use of they/them pronouns too! It's about a cleric gathering the history of the late empress by cataloging the home she lived in while banished, and interviewing her trusted servant. Another thing I loved about this--it focuses on how the 'small' people, the servants, the poor, the overlooked, shape nations. I have a soft spot for that. It's a single-sitting read.
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Nghi Vo lives on the shores of Lake Michigan, and her fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Expanded Horizons, Crossed Genres, and Icarus Magazine. She likes stories about things that fall through the cracks and live on the edges, and she has a deep love for tales of revolution (personal and political), transfiguration, and transmutation. Shes a writer by trade, a storyteller by nature, a ...more

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